I’m sure we all have a favorite dish from our childhood. One of mine was when my Italian Grandma would make this saucy “pizza” for snacking on before meals. A few week’s ago I was at a media dinner at Pepe’s Pizzeria in West Hartford, Connecticut. Tasting their Original Pie brought me right back to my Nonna’s kitchen.
Pepe’s Pizzeria is a family dining experience we have enjoyed many times, but I’ve never had the pleasure of trying so many of their menu options at once! Here’s a few highlights and facts-you-may-not-know from our Pepe’s Pizzeria visit:
All the kids are wearing them – paper pizza chef hats! The boys loved it!
I’d come here just for the yummy dressed Garden Salad, it was that delicious. Filled with crispy seasonal greens, grape tomatoes, shredded cabbage, cucumber, calamata olives, and Romano cheese, then tossed with balsamic vinaigrette. The Caesar is also delicious and zesty tasting!
Have you tried coal-fired brick oven pizza? Pepe’s amazing crust has that perfect blend of crispy and chewy. The kids (and I!) love watching the pizzas getting “shoveled” into the ovens on super long pizza piels (watch out for those extra long handles!) The oven at West Hartford is a reproduction of the original brick oven in New Haven.
We felt so at home at Pepe’s sitting down at the table with Pepe’s Pizzeria co-owner and grandson Gary Bimonte. Here’s a little history on this famous pizzeria’s humble beginnings:
Pepe’s Pizzeria originally started in New Haven as a door to door pushcart business, when founder Francisco Pepe served “sauce and dough.” Eventually, he founded the flagship restaurant in New Haven on Wooster Street, with just the Original Pie and Anchovy pizzas. Now there are over a dozen branch locations. I’m so happy two of them are in my backyard because their pizza is our favorite!
The tomatoes in their incredible sauce are hand-picked yearly by Gary and his family on a special trip out to Italy. They taste tomatoes for two days to find just the right flavor and order 15,000 cases!
Pepe’s was the first pizza shop in Connecticut to use a pizza box. And, Foxon Park soda has been served at Pepe’s since 1925! I just love little trivia like that!
So many toppings to pick from, we taste-tested at least eight or nine different pizzas! My favorite toppings are mushrooms and olives together – I know, that’s an odd one and I never get to order it because I’m the only one who eats it!
A family pizza night at Pepe’s Pizzeria in West Hartford is something our family enjoys as often as we can! What pizza toppings would you order at Pepe’s!?
Thanks to Pepe’s Pizzeria for the media dinner provided to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.